Prove superiority for differential pricing, NPPA tells pharma companies

Multinational stent makers have asked the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to consider differential pricing for drug eluting stents — ones that are coated with medicine which is slowly released into the artery to treat the diseased area — during a meeting on Monday.

The NPPA has said it will allow different prices for drug eluting stents only if the manufacturers can prove the superiority of stents, officials who attended the meeting told Business Standard.

“While multinational firms like Abbott, Boston Scientific, and Medtronic pushed for categorisation, domestic manufacturers told the NPPA that they want a higher ceiling price as the current price is unviable,” said Ganesh Sabat, chief executive officer at Sahajanand Medical Technologies.  

The NPPA, which capped stent prices in February last year, said the demand for stents has increased ever since the prices were capped. After the government slashed prices of stents by 85 per cent, a number of stent manufacturers decided to withdraw some of their ‘next-generation’ stents. 

The NPPA capped the prices of bare metal stents and drug eluting stents at Rs 7,623, and Rs 31,080, respectively.

In an email response, multinational lobby group AdvaMed told Business Standard: “We believe that a singular focus on controlling the price of devices without attempting to address the challenges of the health care ecosystem will not improve patient access. Our key recommendations included the need to consider alternatives to price control such as trade margin rationalisation and more scientific approaches that facilitate differential pricing for innovative medical technologies and complement the government’s vision of providing quality and affordable health care for all.”